Tuesday, April 2, 2002, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Intelligence failure in Gujarat: NHRC
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 1
The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has said a “serious intelligence failure” and inaction by the Gujarat Government marked the events leading to the Godhra tragedy and subsequent deaths and destruction.

In its 18-page order pronounced today, the three-member Bench presided by Chairperson, Justice J.S. Verma reiterated that it would be “naive for it to subscribe to the view that the situation was brought under control within the first 72 hours. Violence continues in Gujarat at the time of writing these proceedings.”

According to the ordersheet, the commission will also send of the copy of a Monday’s order proceedings to the Prime Minister along with a copy of Gujarat Government’s report to facilitate his task during his proposed visit to Gujarat on April 4.

In its first set of recommendations, the commission has suggested entrusting critical cases to the CBI, the implementation of police reforms, special Courts for trial of cases on a day-to-day basis, special cells under the District Magistrates concerned, the constitution of police desks in relief camps, the scrutiny of provocative statements made by persons to the media, punishment to government functionaries for dereliction of duty. It has further recommended camp visits by senior political leaders, special camps for processing insurance and compensation claims, expeditious repair of places of worship that have been destroyed, adequate compensation to the victims, private sector participation in the relief and rehabilitation process and assistance to destitute women and orphans.

The commission has emphasised that its comments on the situation in Gujarat are “preliminary” and its recommendations of an “immediate character and constitute the minimum that needs to be said at this stage.”

It has further explained that the report of the NHRC team which visited Gujarat, is being sent, under separate cover, confidentially, both to the Centre and the state government and it would be appropriate to wait for their response before commenting in greater length or setting out comprehensive recommendations.

It has also pointed out ambiguities in the state government’s report and asked it to clarify such issues.

The commission has observed that its continuing concern stems from recent events which have resulted in the violation of fundamental right to life, liberty, equality and the dignity of citizens of India as guaranteed in the Constitution. “The tragic events that have occurred have serious implications for the country as a whole, affecting both its self-esteem and the esteem in which it is held in the comity of nations.”

It has expressed deep concern over the State Government’s information that it had no intelligence inputs on the movement of kar sewaks. “It would appear to constitute an extraordinary lack of appreciation of the potential dangers of the situation, both by the central and state intelligence agencies. This is more so given the history of communal violence in Gujarat.”


2 more die in Gujarat violence

Ahmedabad, April 1
Two persons succumbed to injuries yesterday, taking the toll in violent incidents in Gujarat in the past 48 hours to nine, while two others, including a BSF jawan, were injured in fresh violence in Vejalpur last night, the police said today. One person was injured when police opened fire and burst teargas shells in Vejalpur to control a rioting mob after a BSF jawan was injured in stone-pelting.

Violence continued in parts of Ahmedabad city and other parts of the state, with reports of arson and attacks pouring in from southern, central and northern regions. PTI

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